JICA to fund new projects to replace old suspension bridges

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will fund the construction of new bridges to replace ageing suspension bridges in some areas of the country, an official of the Japanese aid agency said.

Among the new bridges that JICA will fund include the one that will replace the Gyaing suspension bridge in Kawkareik township of Kayin State, which is expected to be completed in 2021.

JICA coordinates the official development assistance provided by Japan. Mandated to assist economic and social growth in developing countries and promote international cooperation, it is headed by Shinichi Kitaoka, the former president of the International University of Japan.

U Aung Moe Zaw, the chief engineer of the Construction Department, said ground analysis and the design of the bridge is now being carried out.

“The tenders will be called in the second week of May by the JICA foundation,” he said. “The company which wins the tender will undertake the construction,” he said.

The new bridge, which has a weight limit of 60 tonnes, will be finished in March 2021 and is guaranteed to last over 100 years.

The problems of the Gyaing bridge, which had been slowly deteriorating due to wear and tear, were reported as early as June 2009 under the previous government, but the plan for building the new bridge is just starting with the help of JICA.

The bridge is an important part of the country’s road network. It crosses the Gyaing-Kawkareik river on the highway connecting Yangoon, Hpa-an, Myawady, and Mae Sot, Thailand. The route is one of the most important for shipping goods between Thailand and Myanmar.

The bridge was constructed in 1999 with a maximum weight limit of 45 tonnes and cost US$4.96 million (K6.70 billion).

Two suspension bridges in Myanmar span the Gyaing River, the other one is Zartapyin bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in Myanmar. It connects Hpa-an, the capital of Kayin State, and Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon state. It is 579.5 metres long and 7.32 metres wide with a 45-tonne load limit.

JICA will also support the building of other new bridges and repair old suspension bridges, according to a meeting between JICA representatives and the Kayin State government in the last week of April.

Min Kyi Lin, a resident of Kayin, said the authorities must check old suspension bridges and repair those that are not safe before finishing the new bridges.

“I have to use the Gyaing and Zartapyin bridge. It shakes too much when many cars are passing over it, and I am worried it might collapse like the Myaung Mya Bridge” Min Kyi Lin said.

The suspension bridge in Myaung Mya township of Ayeyarwady Region collapsed on April 1 while a truck was crossing it, causing the death of two people.

The construction of the suspension bridge begun in 1994 and completed in 1996. It was 22 years old and one of the oldest bridges in Myanmar.

Source: Myanmar Times

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